Business Magazine

6 Steps to Consider When You Have More Candles on Your Cake Than Dollars in Your Bank

Posted on the 02 May 2013 by Mdelp


The chart below shows the number of people age 55 and older who are still working. This “graying” of the workforce should come as no surprise considering the myriad of pitfalls investors have faced during the last few years such as two major stock market crashes, the inflating and bursting of the housing bubble, plus several major corporate bankruptcies not to mention the day to day mishaps that life throws your way.  

What to do now.

  1. Identify how you got into your current position. Sometimes we get into difficult positions because of our habits (such as spending too much and not saving enough) and sometimes we get into binds because of specific events (such as an accident or business failure). It’s hard to a find a way out if you don’t know what missteps you made on the way in.   
  2. What assets to you have available to you? When compiling this list, think beyond your financial capital (home, car, savings, etc.) and also include your human capital (technical knowledge, personality traits, etc.). You’ll likely be surprised how many job opportunities you not only qualify for but will likely excel at once you list everything.
  3. Prioritize your desires. When you’re retirement age but don’t have retirement funds it limits what you realistically can and can’t have. Is it more important to you to live near your family even if it means working past when you expected to retire or would you rather move to an area with a lower cost of living but not work as long? Would you rather keep working or cut back on your spending? Have an honest discussion about your priorities and don’t let what you think others will want you to say impact your decisions.
  4. Maximize your investments. If your employer offers a retirement plan make sure you at least save enough to qualify for their matching contribution because at this stage every bit of extra money helps.
  5. Understand your options. There are many federal, state and county programs for low income households but there’s no way to know if you qualify for these if you don’t apply. Don’t know where to apply? Don’t worry, most cities or counties have resource centers to help. If the problem is not a lack of income but rather a lack of savings, consider programs that deal with ways to curb spending or help with debt consolidation or bankruptcy.
  6. Have something to look forward to. I’ve found the Monday to Friday grind gets easier as the weekend gets closer and budgeting smudgeting unless I feel there’s something worthwhile to budget for.  You can also have non-financial things to look forward to such as the next time the kids will visit or the next get together with friends. I believe this is the most important step because researchers have found the more things you are looking forward to the happier and more fulfilled you will be.  
FRED Graph

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